As a property owner and landlord, it’s quite easy to forget about the need to ensure that your properties are safe environments for your tenants. Any accidents or injuries that occur in any of your properties due to your negligence could put you out of business.
Today’s litigious society demands a lot and has a low tolerance for shoddiness. If you are an existing landlord, or intend to become one soon, it is vitally important that you are at least aware of the basic regulations.
The Property business is like any other business where you need to comply with several requirements in order to operate in the business.
Fortunately, the red tape is not that onerous, and will soon become second nature.
As a landlord, you have a duty to
• take safety measures including:
o ensuring means of escape are kept clear, maintained in good order and repair, clearly displayed and signposted to all occupants.
o ensuring fire fighting equipment is kept in good order and is well-maintained.
o taking all measures reasonably required to protect the occupants from injury, for example, preventing access to unsafe areas, such as roofs.
• supply and maintain water supply and drainage, gas and electricity.
• maintain common parts and installations.
• maintain living accommodation including any furniture or appliance provided by you, the landlord.
• provide waste disposal facilities.
If you’re in the UK, you also need to be aware of The Furniture and Furnishings Regulation 1988, Gas Safety and Electrical Requirements. For example, you need to ensure that you have all gas appliances checked by a CORGI registered engineer every year and any electrical installation needs to be safe to use.
If you are unsure of any specific requirements, you could always contact your local authority and ask them for their advice. They have recently proven to be quite accommodating when responding to landlords’ questions. However, they are quick to take action if they feel that any laws are being broken. Non-compliance could result in hefty fines or imprisonment in the most severe of cases.
A 30 minute Internet search can also provide you with several answers to any popular questions you may have.
Once you’ve bought your first property and have ensured it meets all minimum requirements, all you need to do is to replicate the processes, thus any additional property will be much easier for you to prepare for letting.